Over 50 Georgian journalists addressed Prime Minister Giorgi Kvirikashvili with a letter on June 19, where they criticized the Government for its handling of Afgan Mukhtarli’s case and requested a meeting with the Prime Minister “to receive relevant information on [unaddressed] questions.”
“We condemn the abduction of Azerbaijani journalist and activist from Tbilisi,” the journalists said, adding that the reported involvement of Georgian security services “not only harms the country’s image, but also significantly aggravates the level of human rights protection in Georgia.”
“The MEPs, international human rights watchdogs and journalists from various countries call on the Georgian Government to conduct timely, effective and transparent investigation,” the letter reads. “However, the investigation has been delayed.”
“Moreover, Afgan Mukhtarli’s lawyer said that the case files do not include video materials retrieved from the site, while investigative journalists claim that the video recordings from CCTV cameras are doctored,” the journalists also said, referring to the investigative report of the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project, which said on June 14 that the video footage from a camera of a private business located on the route Mukhtarli took on May 29 “appears to be doctored.”
The journalists also noted that they have been expecting answers from the Government, but have not received “convincing and reasoned information ... on how the Azerbaijani journalist disappeared from downtown Tbilisi and crossed the border without a passport.”
“We, the journalists, demand timely and transparent investigation into Afgan Mukhtarli’s case, as well as making public all the materials obtained in the course of investigation and setting up a parliamentary investigative commission,” the letter also reads.